Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle signed Bill 37 into law Friday which increases the city's line of credit for use by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
The approval was another sign of support in the application for much-needed federal funding for Oahu's transit project, especially with the rail's first columns already being installed.
"As you see these enormous power lines going up 130 feet in the air and this thing is low to the ground, and looks absolutely magnificent. So, it's a very, very exciting time," said Carlisle.
It was a great day for those who support the project. But, for those who opposed Bill 37, there are strong concerns about how HART will pay back the money.
Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi worries the city would have to take money collected from property taxes to cover the short-term loans if HART is unable to repay the money.
But, rail planners said Bill 37 has many safeguards in place, and they will only tap into the new $450 million credit lines in an emergency.
HART's CEO Dan Grabauskas said after meeting this week with federal transportation authority officials, funding for the rail project looks positive.
"I've learned a long time ago not to count your chickens before they hatch," said Grabauskas. "But, I'll tell you right now -- the farmer feels happy and the folks in Washington are giving us very strong signals that we're going to be in a good position later this year."
HART plans to file the full funding application later this month.
Legal action could derail the project. A federal lawsuit accuses the city of violating federal environmental, historic preservation and transportation laws. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for August.